Artists are having fun this October thanks to ‘Inktober’. They have taken the portmanteau very seriously, and are using it to share their works, which they methodically create every day of the month, with others across the world who are doing just the same.
The rewards are two-fold. They get to display their skill from this nook and corner to other nooks and corners with costly mediation; all you need is an internet connection.
Vagdevi M S, an art teacher with National Public School, has participated in the global phenomenon since 2016.
She says, “Every year, I choose different colours and media. Last time, I worked with yellow watercolour and black, on white paper, but this year I am working on brown paper, with black and white.”
While there is a “prompt list” put out for all artists involved to follow, Vagdevi says that it is not necessary to follow it.
“I worked on the given themes and found each of them quite challenging. Such an activity teaches one about how to balance work and personal life too,” she says.
When she has to skip a day of drawing, which also means skipping the theme of the day, she makes sure she catches up soon. “Working on brown paper is not easy. Works like ‘Overgrown’ and ‘Frail’ were quite challenging,” she says.
She also encouraged her friends in the group ‘Pencil Jammers’ to take up the challenge.
Ranjana Vimala Vikraman, a software professional-turned-artist, is participating in the challenge for the first time.
She says that she heard about Inktober in 2009, it was not a big thing in India back then.
“I used to follow the page and read more, but finding time for drawing wasn’t a possibility then. For the last few years, a few friends of mine have been taking part in the challenge. A friend encouraged me to participate. Now sketching has become a habit,” she says.
She says the challenge has made her more confident and creative. “I learned how consistency helps. My hand-eye coordination has also improved,” she says.
Ranjana, who holds art camps, asks her students to work on themes inspired by Inktober.
Sharath S, a photographer, is trying ‘Inktober’ for the first time and has so far been successful.
“I tried it last year but wasn’t able to complete the challenge. This year, I am more disciplined and have been drawing every day. There are more participants this year. Some of my friends and I are doing it as a group activity,” he says.
He says the whole point of the challenge is to draw consistently.
“The prompt list is really interesting this year; one can work around it in many ways. I find time every day to draw and this has helped boost my confidence,” she says.
Sharath dedicates 30 minutes every day for drawing. “My most difficult drawing was the ‘Snow’ theme. I referred to other artists too.”
Jayasmitha Dutta, a pharmaceutical professional attempting Inktober for the third time, says that this one has been more challenging.
“Every time, the bar is raised; every time you want to perform better than earlier. The themes are new and I have been trying to push myself creatively to give a spin to each of the themes. For ‘Snow’, I drew Jon Snow from Game of Thrones, being a diehard fan of the show. When the theme was Ash, I drew the Phoenix bird instead of just ash,” she says.
“One’s art might not be the best, but how one works on the themes is important,” she says.
The themes are more abstract and can be represented accordingly, she adds.
Jayasmitha registered on the Inktober website so she can get the themes in advance. “I had the time to think about the themes.”
Like many other participants, Jayasmitha feels that this edition has changed the way she looks at drawings.
“Last year, I incorporated a lot of doodling in my works but this year, I have tried sketching more. Every year results in learning new and trying things,” she says.
How did Inktober start?
Inktober was started by Jake Parker in 2009. Anyone who is interested in sketching or drawing can take the challenge. All one has to do is to draw something in ink or pencil, post it online with the hashtag #Inktober and #Inktober2019, and repeat the process this daily, on alternate days or once a week.
Inktober aims at growing, improving and forming positive habits, so the more you’re consistent the better.